Freedom is one of the most cherished American principles. But freedom means more than the ability to speak your mind, practice your religion, or choose your own democratically elected leaders. Our freedoms don’t end with the First Amendment to the Constitution.
Freedom is also the ability to enjoy economic security and stability. And that means more than making a decent living and having enough to pay the bills. It’s about both financially supporting our families and having time to be there for them. Freedom is the ability to take your mom or dad to a doctor’s appointment, to attend a parent-teacher conference, and to retire with dignity.
Unions like the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), where I serve as president, provide the power in numbers that allow us to secure and protect these freedoms.
Because unions fight for these freedoms, the moneyed interests have made us a target. They want to use the courts to chip away at the rights and protections unions have won for everyone. They have now petitioned the Supreme Court to take a case called Janus v. AFSCME, in which the plaintiffs seek to impose “right-to-work” as the law of the land in the public sector.
Right-to-work threatens the ability of working people to stand together in a strong union, drives down wages and weakens workplace protections, while redistributing wealth upward. Moreover, right-to-work has its roots in the Jim Crow south, where segregationists pushed it to restrict the labor rights of African Americans and keep them from finding common cause with their white coworkers. Right-to-work, in other words, was created to inhibit freedom.
(Excerpted from The Hill. To read the entire column, go here).